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​An F-35A Lightning II takes off at Nellis AFB, Nev., Feb. 1, 2019. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw.

Russia to Goldfein: If F-35s Enter Our Airspace, “Remember Vietnam”

The Russian Embassy in the US tweeted a cryptic message to the US Air Force and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein on Friday, pairing a threat against Joint Strike Fighters that enter Russian airspace with propaganda-like video footage. The tweet stated that if the country was to detect an F-35 Lightning II within its airspace, it would tell Goldfein to “remember Vietnam.” It proceeded to caution that one of the Lockheed-built fighters would “never be alone.” The attached video included footage of an aircraft being shot down. The message and video weren’t cross-posted to any of the embassy’s social media sites, and Goldfein didn’t immediately respond. As of press time, the tweet had been shared hundreds of times, and the video racked up more than 50,000 views.—Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

Enterprise Planning is Key to Space Resiliency, SMC Official Says

A federally funded research-and-development center could bridge the gap between the Air Force’s space enterprise vision and companies that need to work together in new ways, an Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center official said at a Feb. 22 AFA Mitchell Institute breakfast. “Get away from one-off systems,” portfolio architect Col. Russell Teehan said. “Get into large-scale production at the bus, at the payload, at the ground, at the data, at the software level. So you’re looking for efficiencies across different mission areas.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.


Sharp Turn After Firing Weapon Led to A-29 Crash

A fatal A-29 crash last summer that led the Air Force to prematurely end flights during the second phase of its light-attack experiment was caused by the pilot’s “overcontrol” after dropping a bomb, according to an accident investigation report published Feb. 22. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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US to Keep a Few Hundred US Forces in Syria, Though Focus Will Shift to Training

The US is reportedly planning to leave about 400 peacekeeping forces inside Syria in what is now a reduction in forces as opposed to a full withdrawal, a move the top US military officer said is not a change in the overall anti-ISIS fight. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


Air Force Reserve C-17 Brings Medical Supplies to Colombia

An Air Force Reserve C-17 assigned to the 315th Airlift Wing at JB Charleston, S.C., made a humanitarian-supply flight from Miami, Fla., to Cucuta, Colombia, on Friday, according to a Facebook video from the wing. The aircraft carried supplies, “including wheelchairs, crutches, and other critical medical supplies” intended for eventual transport to Venezuela, according to a Friday tweet from Mark Green, administrator of the US Agency for International Development. US Southern Command noted the flight, which comes six days after the US sent three C-17s’ worth of aid to Cucuta in response to a request from Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s congress and the self-declared president of the South American nation, was part of a joint effort between DOD, the State Department, and the USAID. The humanitarian supplies were sent to Colombia so they could then be transported to Venezuela, though efforts to move humanitarian aid in through Venezuelan borders have been met with military resistance. Fox News reported Thursday that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced his intent to indefinitely shutter the nation’s border with Brazil, and the situation further deteriorated over the weekend. Trucks carrying food and humanitarian supplies from the US were forced to retreat to Colombia due to opposition from the Venezuelan military, CNBC reported Saturday. The same day, Maduro announced that he was slashing diplomatic ties between Venezuela and Colombia, Reuters reported. Puerto Rico’s governor also told CBS News that a ship it hired to bring “more than 200 tons of humanitarian aid" to Venezuela with multiple US citizens aboard was threatened by the Venezuelan Navy while making its way into the country’s waters, the outlet reported Saturday, leading him to call it away from the contested area.—Brian Everstine and Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory


DOD Looks at Unawarded MILCON Projects for Wall Construction, Housing Funds Safe

The Pentagon is ruling out using any military housing funding to pay for the proposed border wall, and will look instead at military construction projects that have not been awarded yet, or recapitalization and modernization projects that can be cut in order to pay for the project. Defense officials, briefing reporters on background on Friday, said the Pentagon has asked the Department of Homeland Security for a prioritized list of military construction projects, and the Joint Staff and US Northern Command will evaluate that list. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

USAF, RAF Jets Fly Over Site of World War II Crash on 75th Anniversary

Several USAF and United Kingdom Royal Air Force aircraft on Friday flew over the site of a 1944 B-17G crash in Sheffield, England, thanks to decades years of work by a local man who was just a boy when he saw the Flying Fortress go down. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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RADAR SWEEP


With Women in Combat Roles, a Federal Court Rules the Male-Only Draft Unconstitutional
A federal judge in Texas has declared that the all-male military draft is unconstitutional, ruling that "the time has passed" for a debate on whether women belong in the military. The decision deals the biggest legal blow to the Selective Service System since the Supreme Court upheld the draft in 1981. USA Today

NATO Troops Got Catfished & Honeypotted on Social Media, Revealing Serious Vulnerabilities
A NATO cyber “red team” decided to see if they could infiltrate their forces through social media accounts and learned it was far easier to get data, locations and to sway their troops’ behavior than they thought it would be. Military Times

New Guidance for Travel to Mexico
The United States Army North Force Protection division has new guidelines regarding travel to Mexico to ensure that our service members are kept safe. USAF release

DOD Space Force Proposal Seeks Special Authorities To Transfer People and Programs From Other Services
The Pentagon estimates it could take at least five years to align personnel and funding for the Space Force until it reaches its projected size of 12,000 to 15,000 people, most of whom would come from existing organizations. Space News

Boeing Awarded EPAWSS Contract Modification For F-15E
Boeing has been awarded a USD24.1 million contract modification related to the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System upgrade for the F-15E Strike Eagle combat aircraft. Jane’s

Air Force Pollution Forces New Mexico Dairy to Euthanize 4,000 Cows
Art Schaap, owner of Highland Dairy in Clovis, New Mexico is facing a unique kind of devastation. He’s dumping 15,000 gallons of milk each day, had to let his 40 employees go and plans to kill all 4,000 of his cows because seven of his 13 wells have been contaminated by toxins called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that entered the groundwater at nearby Cannon Air Force base. Des Moines Register

One More Thing …

Virgin Galactic Spaceplane Reaches Space With First Passenger on Board
Astronaut trainer Beth Moses tagged along for the ride. The Verge